When your beloved one gives half the cake as a present to your dinner guests, without you having to time to take pictures of it, you have to think of ingenious ways to photograph the three remaining pieces of the dessert for the website.. But this is what I am here for. And if you are interested in food styling and photography in this recipe you can see some interesting pictures I think.
So! first recipe on the website after a long time and it sure it is time!
Autumn is here and and well it does not seem like Autumn... More like the end of summer both in Greece as well as in California.
And yes, tis the time of pumpkin. Pumpkin here, there, white, red, orange, yellow... And the pumpkin spice is all over your senses nowadays. Interesting fact that the sales of cinnamon, ginger, clove etc that make up this mix have more than quadrupled in the last ten years just because of a Starbucks drink.. People are weird..
I give you my recipe for it in which I add a bit of pepper for good measure and provide even more depth to the flavor of Autumn...
Anyway... I have this really cool recipe for a cake using artichoke that I plan to upload a bit later in the winter and thought to give it a try and see if it works with pumpkin as well. And it sure did...
I added a nice syrup to make the cake even more moist and it was almost as if I was having a tiramisu without the biscuits and this is why I named it as such..
So, I have made somehummus for you in the past, but that one was a bit out there since it had fish in it.
So, because I roasted thepumpkin the other day and turned it into a puree I thought about using some of it and make another interesting Hummus.
It is one of the best snacks for me and especially great to have in front of the TV while watching a movie scooping it into one's mouth with some veggies or maybe a nice rusk.
Very easy recipe, as I have some boiled chickpeas always in the freezer from the Feneos area in Greece in portions and also the wonderful puree of Irini's pumpkin and so in a few hours I can make this delicious dish with no trouble.
Does not need too many more ingredients. Some Tahini, lemon, olive oil, spices and a food processor..
The pumpkin in this recipe gives it a beautiful freshness and makes it lighter than usual. Especially for me as I do not really love Tahini..
Also it is a great vegan recipe for those of you that are looking for that...
I love it when you can use as much as possible from the food you have bought. Throw away almost nothing and use even the scraps.
I love pumpkins and had bought more than a few from Irini. I had one left, and decided to roast it and keep it as a puree in the freezer as the days are getting warmer and did not want it to spoil.
Also keeping the puree in the freezer in bags is very convenient and saves a ton of space.
So roasting a pumpkin is very straightforward and does not need much.. Make sure that you do not use any salt as you can use the puree in a recipe for a dessert like those brownies I made recently and not to flavour it with many spices as it should be kept like a white canvas for you to play with in your recipes.
You can do something smart though and roast the pumpkin on a bed of an aromatic like sage. I have a lot growing in the garden and thought about giving it a go..
It gives a light flavor to the finished product even though you cannot really tell what you are tasting... you just feel that there is a second layer to the pumpkin taste but you cannot actually tell what it is...
Also the seeds of the pumpkin you can use and turn them into a tasty snack.
I really love brownies. Their wonderful texture, that they are always moist (unless we overcook them) and their incredible chocolaty taste.
The truth is that as I grow older I am looking for other tastes and not only chocolate which when I was younger was something I would never substitute anything for. Who knows why?
As sweet pumpkins are a particular favourite of mine (I still remember the sweet pumpkin pie of Alexia’s mother which she made for her name day every 30th of August) I thought it would be a great idea to make brownies with sweet pumpkin.
Of course I wasn’t the first person to think of this combination, this “wheel” had already been invented by the famous Martha Stewart years ago…Therefore based on her recipe, I created my own version and I believe I managed to make something really tasty..
Take a look and make it !
Eh..I should mention that I always have pureed pumpkin in bags in the freezer from my wonderful friend Irini.
And if you have noticed that in most of my cakes I have used caster sugar. Not just because I buy it like that but I put ordinary sugar through the multi-blender. It gives a better texture to my cakes…
In all the years I have been cooking there have been some sites that I really love and always go back to, to see whatever there is new to discover.
Most of them continue to grow, but others, especially if they have been started by a blogger, every now and again, maybe because life is full of surprises, they stop- either because they do something else or because they get bored, or who knows why…
The worst thing is they stop and also stop paying the company that hosts there site so whenever you go in to find a beloved recipe you find no site and no more recipes..
This has happened 2-3 times in the past few years and I was not smart enough to download the great recipes I had found at the time.
The first time was Pim”s site.. A Thai-American woman who posted such analytical descriptions of her recipes that she helped me greatly with my cooking with the fine detail of how to prepare her dishes.
Pim had wonderful recipes and I am still trying to persuade her to give me her recipe for Persimmon fruit pudding and the one for Madeleines with Bergamot…
Unfortunately she now runs two restaurants in San Francisco and another in Bangkok and probably doesn’t give a damn about the crazy fan in Athens who wants to make her desserts; whichever way you look at it I feel like I have missed out.. as has everyone else. I also feel that once you have uploaded your recipes online you have a duty to make them available from then on no matter how much time has passed.
Do you think I should sue her?? :)
Another site that I have lost in the same way was called “Playing with Fire and Water” which was run by an American woman who was doing private dining and may still do it but at another level..
She used ingredients she found in the gardens of her clients, she loved certain ingredients especially Asian but usually something out of the ordinary.
I had seen on her site a similar recipe to that which I will make for you today which had made such an impression on me that I remember it still..And so I have tried it, to try to relive not so much the ingredients but the sense of surprise and difference I felt about the original recipe..
I got some small munchkin pumpkins from Irene and I filled them with cous cous from Iliodora and placed a roasted quail into each one..I didn’t want to do risotto in the end.
When I heard that a young girl was cultivating pumpkins and other amazing and rare vegetable varieties I immediately had a picture of her in my mind…When I met her it was one of those times when you smile to yourself because even when you think you are progressive and open minded, you realise that parents, school, television and society generally have filled our minds with stereotypes and when they are broken you laugh at your stupidity..
Irini was born in the 80s, studied at the Horticultural University and instead of dancing and drinking coffees and working in something else, cultivates amazing vegetables..
How many young, beautiful young women do you know who do that? Irini is one of those- and is amazing.
The pumpkins she produces are not the simple large yellow ones or the smaller ones found in most supermarkets. Irini has found many rare incredible varieties which she cultivates and they are the best you will ever try.
Be in no doubt that it is the specific variety in all the vegetables and fruit which makes all the difference in taste and quality.
Isn’t it true that the varieties of Pilafa and Pink Lady apples are the tastiest? Also don’t the Golden and Jona Gold varietieshave a different taste and texture? It’s the same for all the fruit and vegetables..the oranges and the cucumbers as well as the pumpkins.
Apart from the cultivation techniques, the soil and the fertiliser etc, the variety plays a huge role in the final product.
Irini cultivates three of my favourite varieties of pumpkin that I didn’t ever expect to find in Greece.
She grows the varieties Red Kuri, Crown Prince and Spaghetti Squash.
The Red Kuri pumpkins are relatively small, easily handled, have a lovely texture and mostly don’t need peeling as the peel is soft and edible!
They are wonderful roasted with a little oil salt and pepper..Great for a risotto or teamed with roast meat.
The Crown Prince variety is the king of pumpkins. The peel is a wonderful grey colour with vivid orange flesh with a velvety texture which once you have tried you would never use another variety for your soups.
They also have a great taste which reminds you of chestnut..generally a truly fine pumpkin that you should try..
Like the Red Kuri it’s good to simply, for the first time, roast them with a little oil salt and pepper to really check out their difference and their unique taste.
Afterwards just start experimenting with them and you will be blown away!
The Spaghetti squash on the other hand are completely crazy pumpkins..If you cut them when they are ripe down the middle them look like any other pumpkin or squash.. but once you roast them the flesh separates easily with a fork to resemble spaghetti and it got it’s name from this and makes it possible to substitute this squash for pasta in recipes..isn’t that incredible?
Apart from all of these I got some very small varieties which could easily be served as individual portions. Apart form the pumpkins that she grows once a year, she cultivates many other varieties of strange vegetables such as multi coloured beets, sweet multi coloured peppers which can be eaten like a snack, green and mauve broccoli and she has many great ideas she wishes to put into action for the future.
She wants for instance, the fields to be left open to the public to come and collect the vegetables themselves straight out of the ground and also wants to cultivate other vegetables like varieties of potato some for roasting others for salads or boiling and generally she wants to create a closer relationship with her clients and make sure that they get them fresh within 24 hours from leaving the ground…
I am sure she will manage this because she has a vision about all of this.
I will go at the beginning of spring and check out the fields and see all the products in the ground from up close. I have already started experimenting with her products and my first recipe was the wonderful Pumpkin Pie which I made recently.
Her products can be found:
In Athens:at The Fast Market in Marousi (Mesogeion 37 and Dafnis)
In Ioannina: Sep Markets Papadopoulos (9 places)
In Lamia: Tsara Brothers grocers, Kyprou 29
In Nea Magnisia: Pardalis Grocers
If you wish to speak to her in person, her number is: 6980097592
A most beautiful recipe for pumpkin tart... One of the recipes I tried and will present to you using the Pumpkins I bought from Irene Korkou.
I will talk to you about Irene and her wonderful vegetables some other time but I guess I should just say that she cultivates the most wonderful pumpkins the likes of which you cannot easily find in Greece. I bought 4 varieties from her and one of them was a beautiful small red one called Red Kuri and it's flesh tastes a bit like a chestnut and the texture of the flesh is silky and smooth which makes it great for turning it into a puree.
Robert asked me to make this desert as it is one of his favorites. I used a Martha Stewart recipe as the base of mine but I changed it a whole lot. As you can see I do not blind bake the tart shell. I find that you do not need to do that in this recipe as it does not give anything extra but if you want to try it go ahead and do it! I won't mind.. :-)